Say I have three names viz... Firstname Middlename Surname. My first name is quite long. My supervisor is requesting that I only use my Middle and Surnames. This occured with my first manuscript with him (he has two short names). Although, I have one publication (with my full three names) before studying under my current supervisor, I have tried to do this. My ORCID account contains the three names. IEEE membership name emphasizes my Firstname and Surname. My question is if I would like to use only my Middle and Surnames now, what are the things I must do and precautions to take to ensure consistency and avoid complications in the future.

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    Use your first name if you want to. Your supervisor can't make you change your name. Being a bit mischievous, if he has a problem that your name is longer than his, maybe he should make his longer.
    – user68958
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 6:54
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    What is the real reason your adviser doesn't want you to include your first name?
    – JRN
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 10:56
  • Actually he prefers the use of two names. Although, I know someone who has worked with him with an intial between two of his names, he isnt encoraging that. Perhaps he thinks it is proefssional especially when working with several authors (Perhaps from his experience). I'm trying to retain my first name as initial, but it seems he doesnt like it Still. I also think wants me to start with that early and retain this in the future. Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 12:24
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    It is your name, and not your advisor's. You own it; your advisor does not. You have the right to use it as you wish; your advisor does not.
    – JRN
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:14
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    he doesnt like it Still. Buddy, your advisor is behaving unreasonably and coming dangerously close to abusing his authority over you. Advisors and coauthors don’t get to decide what name you use on the papers you coauthor with them. His reasoning is irrelevant, although he is free to explain it to you and let you consider his advice and choose how to proceed. I don’t have suggestions what you should do since that’s a much more tricky question, but for starters, it’s important that you understand that if his “request” is as forceful as you make it sound, this isn’t right. Good luck!
    – Dan Romik
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


Use the name that you wish to be known by within academia. For the next 40 years (depending on age and career), you will build a reputation attached to your name. That name will be on your papers, announcing you for presentations, on your name tag at conferences, as the author of any books you publish and for many other uses.

Your supervisor is not asking for a trivial change for his or her convenience, your supervisor is asking for you to either give up your preferred name throughout your career, or to have multiple names on publications. While it is certainly fixable to have multiple names, it is harder to ensure you get credit for all your work.

You could perhaps ask why your supervisor wants you to use a different name. There may be a good reason in which case you can take that into account in your decision. Since you have a long name, do people use the full name when addressing you? Would it be reasonable to use perhaps a shorter version of your first name if that's how you are known?


Don't do it! Using not your first name is really bad practice, because people (and systems) will be confused. Your name is as it is - don't let anyone mess with it.

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    I agree with the above. However if for some mysterious reason you skip firsname for the actual paper, from now on, use just one consistent option.
    – Alchimista
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 12:19

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